Is Hypnotherapy Worth It?

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Updated:

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Hypnotherapy is a type of alternative therapy that uses hypnosis techniques to create subconscious change in an individual.

Some people turn to hypnotherapy to help overcome addictions, anxiety, pain, insomnia, and more. But is undergoing hypnosis actually worthwhile?

We weighed the pros and cons of hypnotherapy to find out if it’s an effective therapeutic method for the issues it aims to resolve.

How Hypnotherapy Works

Hypnotherapists use relaxation techniques and suggestion therapy to lull patients into a deep, trance-like state of heightened focus and concentration.

  • When hypnotized, patients remain awake and aware, but they may feel detached from their bodies and are more receptive to the therapist’s guidance.
  • Once the trance state is achieved, the hypnotherapist uses verbal repetition and mental images to influence the subject’s subconscious and reprogram the way they think or behave.

This is intended to enable long-term change by bypassing conscious resistance factors.

Hypnosis Methods

There are a few approaches a hypnotherapist may use during a session:

  • Suggestion therapy: Direct suggestions are given for feelings or behaviors
  • Guided imagery: Visualization of meaningful images is used for desired change
  • Age regression: Patients revert to a younger age to recall forgotten memories
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Pros: Benefits of Hypnotherapy

So should you book a hypnotherapy session? Here are some of the evidence-based benefits associated with hypnosis:

Treating Addiction

Multiple studies found hypnosis can help people quit smoking long-term. A meta-analysis showed hypnotherapy patients were much more likely to remain abstinent from nicotine vs. non-hypnosis methods when combined with other treatments.

Easing Anxiety

Hypnosis may reduce anxiety for certain conditions, including:

  • Fear of flying
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Fear of medical procedures

One study found a single 30-minute session of gut-directed hypnotherapy provided rapid relief from IBS symptoms due to anxiety.

Losing Weight

Clinical trials indicate hypnosis could boost weight loss by an extra 8 pounds compared to diet and exercise alone. However, benefits seem to fade over time without reinforcement.

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Cons: Limitations of Hypnotherapy

However, experts note hypnotherapy has its limits in treating more complex psychological issues or chronic conditions:

Lack of Evidence

  • Little to no evidence hypnosis helps with depression, psychosis, dementia or PTSD
  • More research is needed on long-term efficacy

Temporary Effects

  • Effects seems to wear off without ongoing sessions
  • People may relapse back to habitual behaviors

No Magic Cure

VitalHypnotherapy may help manage issues but does not “cure” them. Ongoing work is required by the patient for sustained change.

Is It Worth Trying?

Whether hypnosis is worthwhile or not depends on your specific circumstances and adherence. If you struggle with anxiety or addiction, hypnotherapy could provide rapid relief when other methods have failed.

  • However, be wary of any therapists who guarantee “miracle cures” for serious conditions without empirical evidence. Managing expectations is key.
  • While more research is still needed, hypnotherapy is a reasonably safe option that may work for some people alongside other treatment plans.

As with any therapy, have clear objectives and give it multiple sessions before deciding if it’s effective or not.

Success Rates of Hypnotherapy

ConditionSuccess Rate
Smoking cessationUp to 57% after 6 months
Weight lossAvg. additional loss of 5 lbs
IBS symptom improvementUp to 53% of cases
Dental phobia alleviationUp to 74%
Hot flashes reductionAvg. reduction of 68% possible

This table provides some statistics on the success rates of hypnotherapy for treating certain conditions, based on clinical study findings.

Conclusion

Hypnotherapy holds promise for select applications like fighting addiction or minimizing anxiety. But more studies are still needed to back up claims surrounding other uses cases.

Go into it with eyes wide open, adhere fully to the therapist’s guidance, and be patient before judging its long-term worth.

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About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social

1 thought on “Is Hypnotherapy Worth It?”

  1. I choose to learn more about hypnosis because my relative has expressed interest in it. It’s good that you mentioned that there are alternative strategies, like guided imagery and suggestion therapy, that you can choose from. I’ll be sure to let him know about this so he knows what to anticipate. I’ll look for experts who could assist him with it as well.

    Reply

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